Resisting Lifestyle Inflation

I basically went a year without experience any of the symptoms of my new income. I didn’t really increase my discretionary expenditures once I started my full-time job. Actually, I probably decreased the money I was “wasting”. This worked for nearly a year, but recently I’ve been itching to spend money. As I mentioned in my last budget update, I recently purchased a new TV. I didn’t need a new TV at all. My previous TV was great, but I just wanted something a little better (bigger).

I know people often say to reward yourself for working hard, but that’s really what leads of out-of-control spending and rampant lifestyle inflation. Think back to those college days, when a crappy car was good enough and a box of pizza fed you for three days. That was “enough” then, and that’s really all I need. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with those sacrifices.

While the TV didn’t hurt my personal finance progress too much, the current purchase I’ve been itching for would slow down my progress wayyyyy too much. Recently I’ve been addicted to looking for used luxury cars. Most notably, I’ve been think about a 2001 Mercedes SLK 320. This purchase would set me back about $11k initially, and it would also cost much more each year to maintain, insure, and service than my current car. There’s really no way I should be looking at a purchase like that when I have my student loans.

To avoid making a purchase like a car I’ve been putting my extra money toward my loan to keep it from sitting around and tempting me. But really, I’d like to hear some advice from you. How have you kept lifestyle inflation at bay?